Vanilla almost seems made for the woolens of fall and winter, a comforting and almost a warming scent. But vanilla can also have cold aspects or allude to boardwalk in a heat friendly way, one that I’ve learned to take advantage of with both recent and vintage scents.
Maitre Parfumier et Gantier’s Fleur de Comores is just such a perfume. There is a big jasmine note and some pale green shading before you get to the vanilla spun core of the perfume which is very like cotton candy. The whole thing is reminiscent of the boardwalk, stickiness, tans, and something sweet gluing your fingers together. That plus the jasmine make Fleur de Comores one of the best holiday perfumes I have ever come across.
If you are looking for another lightweight vanilla that presents itself as airy and floral, Hermes Vanille Galante is mostly a lily to my nose, but the virtual petals release a slightly crisp fresh lily smell I associate with Easter Lilies. The vanilla is there- almost peripherally- and because of that Vanille Galante is wonderful to wear even when the temperature has reached appalling heights.
The best citric fusion of lemon and vanilla to my mind is still Shalimar Lite, although I am not above using any of the Guerlain super vanillas once they’re refrigerated, in July or August, even Spiritueuse Double Vanille. In fact I keep Emeraude (the prototype for Shalimar) on ice at this time of year and often wear that. If you can’t find Shalimar Lite anymore then Emeraude makes a very good stand in although Emeraude’s missing the slightly salty note that is in SL.
Finally two more vanillas recently went on my summer list, Neil Morris’s Izmir, which is an improbable mixture of fig, coffee, vanilla, and rose, geranium and oud, with something faintly saline, keeping all the elements afloat in the formula, as though you could recreate a summer’s day on the coast of Turkey and suspend it in solution. Izmir is wonderful on humid afternoons and absolutely perfect for men or women. Neil is apparently not much for the sexing of perfume bottles and pretty much sells whatever appeals to his clients, so anything of his is worth a trial on skin.
Shelley Waddington’s Indigo Vanilla was another recent discovery which seems to center on an accord between violet and vanilla that is pretty and original. It’s humid today in Jersey and I am wearing Indigo Vanilla which I find very nearly as beguiling as her Go Ask Alice and Zelda. There is something about IV that is particularly hard to pin down. I think maybe Shelley has hit on an accord that is very durable and yet isn’t in the least boring, and there are some ingredients here that are common to Zelda as well. I’m not sure that I’d call Indigo heat specific. Indigo is more of an all round perfume that may work as a signature for the woman who wants to have a distinctive and delicate fragrance, and although I say woman, I think this might be discreet on a man as well. But Indigo is very vanilla, and also very good, and doesn’t seem to have a high melting point, which is an important consideration for vanillas in the summertime.